SINGAPORE - Despite speculation of possible challengers for one of the hottest seats in Singapore sport, Member of Parliament Ellen Lee was elected unopposed as the new Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) president yesterday.
The 57-year-old lawyer was unveiled, along with Chua Chu Kang GRC MP Alex Yam, as outgoing president Lee Bee Wah's preferred candidates last month.
The 33-year-old Yam was also elected unopposed as one of two deputy presidents (the other is Jack Soh) at the biennial general meeting at the National Library in Bugis.
New president Ellen said that she was glad with the "smooth election", where only one position in the 19-strong committee was contested - 10 people were vying for nine committee member slots.
On what she sees as an immediate priority, Ellen said: "The most pressing thing is to continue with the pathways that we already have created, because it is ongoing and we would very much like to speed it up as much as we could.
"The recent performances at the Commonwealth Games have raised a lot of hope and expectation. And we want to build on that momentum for our players to aspire to as much as possible, (and) be able to play on the international stage."
Outgoing president Lee (far left) will remain as an adviser to STTA, and is happy that she has left the association in good hands.
She said: "I am very happy now that we have put in place continuity in leadership, and not just for one generation. You can see two generations in place."
She was likely referring to Yam, who later hinted he may continue beyond his two-year term.
He said: "I will be in STTA for as long as I can contribute towards the growth of the sport.
"My main task at the moment is to ensure that we have enough funds to run our programmes and explore new ones to develop young local talent.
"If there are new areas to contribute, I am happy to explore that, but we need to look at things in the short and medium term...
"As for what happens later on, we still have to go through elections, so that's something for consideration much later on."
The expansion of programmes such as the STTA-PAP Community Foundation Kindergarten Table Tennis Programme, the STTA's School Within a School programme with the Singapore Sports School and sponsorship will rank highly on the new leadership's agenda - with Ellen aiming to secure one more sponsor for the national team.
While her predecessor has frequently been seen cheering on Feng Tianwei and Co at various overseas tournaments, as well as personally securing sponsorship deals for the association, Ellen acknowledges that she may not be as hands-on.
"I am still a practising lawyer with court schedules that are sometimes beyond my control but, as much as I can, I will support the team whenever they play outside Singapore," said Ellen, who will head to Incheon, South Korea, later this month to support the paddlers at the Asian Games.
The New Team
President: Ellen Lee
Deputy presidents: Alex Yam, Jack Soh
Vice-presidents: Lim Soon Hock, David Sim, Teo Bee Chiong
Honorary secretary: Felix Lim
Assistant honorary secretary: Don Lee
Honorary treasurer: Tan Yan Boon
Assistant honorary treasurer: Francis Lee
Committee members: Tang Mun Fai, Winston Tay, Danny Oh, William Chua, Chia Chong Boon, John Tan, Soon Min Sin, Han Ngge Juan, Jeffrey Ng.
This article was first published on September 7, 2014.
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